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Magical realism – a designer treehouse in Constantia captures your childhood fantasy

Malan Vorster Architecture Interior Design has created a marvel with major luxe-appeal, and a tribute to the wonder of childhood wishes, in the leafy suburb of Constantia, Cape Town.

We love this project because it is a celebration of vantage point creativity in prime property, and it manages to retain the integrity of its surroundings, beautifully. On contacting the architects, we uncovered that the unconventional abode’s brief was quite simple; create a cabin-like hideaway resembling a treehouse. The Know then went on to gain exclusive insight into the owner’s magnificent project and unearthed what was at the core of this creation.

“We’ve lived in Constantia for almost 40 years, and we love the suburb for its relaxed, country-like lifestyle. Sustainability is very important to us; we are only custodians of the land we inhabit and hence we have a responsibility to preserve its natural beauty for future generations. Our favourite design element of the Treehouse Project is the floating spiral staircase that internally connects the three levels, for its sheer architectural beauty. The intimate connection to nature is undoubtedly good for the soul and the space induces a calming effect – the perfect antidote to the usual stresses of daily life”.

For us the design works in that it allows you to see the exquisite natural beauty of leafy Constantia from an entirely different vantage point. Being quite literally ‘up in the trees’ means you get the best of elevated views and lofty living, but one still wonders if it is quite as practical to live in. Having an experienced team (no strangers to this type of challenge) create the space has most likely been the secret weapon in ensuring that function has been considered as equally as form.

Suspended ramps lead into the treehouse, which barely touches the ground. Heading up the team were architects Pieter Malan and Jan-Heyn Vorster, and designer Peter Urry, with Henry Fagan & Partners responsible for the structural engineering. Having been involved in previous projects in this tree-rich space, the team were commissioned to design a small contemporary house to complement the existing collection – spatially organised around a modern interpretation of the Cape Werf.

Inspiration was drawn from the timber cabins of Horace Gifford and Kengo Kuma’s notions of working with the void or in-between space, while Louis Kahn’s mastery of pure form and the detailing ethic of Carlo Scarpa informed a process of geometric restraint and handcrafted manufacturing. The building becomes a vertically arranged “clearing in the forest”, with living space on level one, a bedroom on level two and a roof deck on the third. A plant room is located at ground level below the building. The half round bays accommodate a patio, dining alcove and stairs on the living level, a bathroom on the bedroom level and a built-in seat on the roof deck level – the pure geometries provide articulation to the spaces.

All materials are left untreated, and will express the passing of time as they weather naturally with the surrounding trees. Views are expansive to say the least and with light that has been maximised to draw in the natural beauty of this leafy sanctuary in the most novel, imaginative way, this home in the trees is a magnificent tribute to magical realism in prime real estate.

Enjoy the luxury of working with those who have in-depth area knowledge and expertise in showcasing even the most statement secret spots. Pam Golding Constantia can help you on your journey to buying or selling in this exceptional suburb.